How clients normally start the conversation: “I have a new business idea, so I need a logo.”
My response: *Pulls hair out + screams.*
Okay, so that’s a little dramatic, but it's why I’m writing this post! There are a million and one reasons why “just a logo” is not really what you need. What you actually need is a brand. I’ll start you off with three of those a million and one reasons today.
1. YOUR LOGO IS NOT YOUR BRAND
Your logo is just a tiny piece of what helps make your brand + business successful. There are so many other key elements that play a factor in the overall success of your brand, and you need to know how to execute all of those pieces.
For example: If you have a logo, but are using different color schemes, photos, tones of voice, and ideas across your social media, website, and email… your followers will never know who they're really following or what you’re trying to help them with. It’s hard to establish trust with someone when you can’t even figure out who they are or what they do. A logo is great, but if you’re not consistent in other areas of your brand, you may not be successful.
The three main elements I teach my clients about when it comes to establishing your overall brand are: your voice, your vision, and your visuals.
Even though I’m a designer, I’m telling you that your voice and vision are just as important as your visuals. If you have the design, but don’t know what you stand for, your clients might think you look pretty… but won’t understand what you can do to help them. If you have a consistent voice, but no clear vision on where your business is heading, your followers won’t have a reason to keep following you. If you have a clear message and know the direction you’re headed, you still need the design to help carry out the message visually. These three factors are absolutely essential to your brand.
2. CONSISTENCY IS KEY
As I’m sure you’ve heard before, consistency and unity across your brand is the key to gaining more followers and getting new clients. If you’re sharing bright, crazy-colored photos on Instagram but using soft, calming tones on your website, your followers may not recognize you as the same person or the same brand. The goal is for your followers + potential clients to see an image or read something and know immediately that it came from you and your brand.
I’ve worked with countless businesses to rebuild and re-establish their brand after a designer sent them on their way with just a logo file and nothing else. Please ask your designer for a brand, not just a logo. Do your research on them and ask questions! If they offer a free design inquiry session, like I do, use it! Get all of your questions answered there before you spend your hard earned money to get just a logo—and then have to spend even more money to have a branding designer help you re-establish your brand’s overall look + feel.
If you’re feeling unsure, ask your designer to see a sample of their process. Ask them what your deliverables are. If it’s just your logo files, move along, sister.
3. BRAND RECOGNITION
Every element of your brand should be complementary: your tone of voice, mission, and design should flow fluidly and work well together. The sign on your building, the banner on your website, the photos you post on social media, the thumbnail images you post on your blog—I could go on, but I think you get the point—all need to look, sound, and feel like one entity in order for your clients to start recognizing your brand.
Why is brand recognition so important, you ask? Once people start recognizing your brand, whether it’s through a post on Pinterest or a design on a t-shirt, they will be reminded of the existence of your brand. Which might lead them to your website to buy your product or follow you on Instagram. I mean after all, you are trying to run a business here. In order to do that, you need followers + customers.
PUT THIS NEWLY FOUND KNOWLEDGE TO WORK.
I could go on and on about why branding design is important—and I probably will—but I’ll save the rest for another day. For now, I want you to score your own brand. Does your current brand have a solid voice, vision, and visual style? To help you answer this question, I made a scorecard for you. Download the scorecard, fill it out, and tell us how you did!
ASK ME YOUR QUESTIONS ON BRANDING.
Is this term “branding” still a mystery to you? Want to know more about what to ask your designer? What does the term “branding” mean to you? I’m an open book when it comes to branding design, so ask away!